About Laura & progressive, interfaith spirituality
God found me early. Suppertime at the Thor household was a theological debate. One day my parents argued about the apple in the Garden of Eden. One thought it really was an apple, the other insisted it was a metaphor for sex. As a kid of 10, it impressed me, that my parents could disagree so vehemently and both be good church-going people. Didn’t there have to be a single, right answer?
When I a first-grader, I came home one day from Catholic school and told our babysitter, Mrs. S., that Sister said Catholics are better than Lutherans, which Mrs. S. was. She told my mom, and I got a spanking. This was my first lesson in ecumenism, and also a lesson that I shouldn’t repeat everything I hear at school!
Life was full of this stuff for me. Naturally I studied Catholic theology in college, took a great job in adult religious education at a large suburban parish, and totally failed at the educator part. It wasn’t my skill set, and I was too young to teach adults about marriage and parenting. So I left for an urban life in a houseful of interesting people, and worked in a bookstore a few years. I grew allergic to anything religious, but explored some of the world’s religions and spiritualities. Don’t let anybody fool you, the twenties are a decade of spiritual adventure. I was happy to turn 30, by that time finishing a graduate degree as a mental health therapist.
Settling into my vocation and profession as a mental health therapist, my inner horizons broadened as my circle came to include my best friend, who happens to be a transgender woman, another Face of God in the world. I found a great church for progressive Catholics, and ecumenically minded enough that we sometimes co-created Sunday services with the Dignity Catholic community and the Presbyterian community (we all shared the building). The result? We had the best preaching (the Presbyterians), singing (Dignity) and ritual (hands down for the Catholics).
Over the years my relationship with Jesus changed for me, raised on the cusp of traditional Catholicism and Vatican II. Jesus became my spiritual mentor, pointing me toward God. I’ve since followed Jesus into his Judaic roots, into his love for Torah, God, and an openness that seems very ecumenical to me. No, I am not a Messianic Jew. I am a woman in awe of God’s work in the world.
I sense there is One God/divine Source/Creator, and if gender mattered, this One would have to be omni-gendered, with many attributes and many names: Savior, Healer, Creator, Giver of Life, the Merciful, Father, Mother, Soul…
And that One welcomes everybody. God must be LGBTQ-affirming, color-affirming, interfaith-affirming, even politically inclusive (hard for me to swallow that one) or God wouldn’t have made such variety of people and worldviews. Who are we to argue? God is always surprising, always bigger than our little minds.
God’s infinite ability to surprise us means I do not get to make final judgements about your life. Together we do our best to sense and receive sacred wisdom. I facilitate your working out what your soul needs your ego to hear. If you have a big decision to make, we try together to use ancient methods to discern a loving and wise choice. If you get depressed or anxious or hold a grudge, we can find its source and aim to heal it. Not everything is healed by prayer and health food, though, so I may tell you to see a doctor for medication! I’m both practical and an idealist, and holding both attitudes together on your behalf is what you trust me to do. Let’s meet and do some work together for your well-being!